PANSEY, Ala. (WDHN) — A father and son were playing video games when their Houston County home was struck by lightning. Minutes later, it was engulfed in flames.
“There was no thunder, no rain, and lightning struck down,” Pansey resident Jon Preston Ingalls said. “It sounded like it was right next to my window.”
Ingalls then ran over to his dad and told him about the lightning, but then that’s when he saw smoke.
“So whenever I ran outside and saw the black smoke,” Ingalls said. “I was like, ‘hey, we just need to get out of here, just come on and we just have to leave everything, but grab your phone’.”
The call to 9-1-1 was then made and when crews arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames. It took units two hours to control the fire and Tuesday afternoon the fire reignited.
Houston County Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Judah says that the preliminary cause of the fire looks to have been a lightning strike.
When the lightning struck, Ingalls said he could feel it through his controller. He says that’s why he was able to escape the house unharmed.
“I did feel some of it come through the PlayStation controller, but I had these rubber grips on the controller,” “But I think that it really saved me in ways,” resident, John Preston Ingalls said.
Officials say the home is a total loss, but luckily, neither John Preston nor his dad was hurt. Unfortunately, Ingalls was unable to find his black and white cat, Bailey.
“She was in there and I couldn’t grab her,” Ingalls said.
The family affected by this fire is currently staying with other family members in the area and they are also being taken care of by the Houston County EMA.
Judah adds that over the fourth of July holiday weekend, none of the Houston County fire departments received any fire calls related to fireworks.
Stick with WDHN as we continue to follow this story.